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USA 1999
Directed by
Kimberly Pierce
118 minutes
Rated MA

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
4.5 stars

Boys Don't Cry

One presumes that the writers of this film, Andy Bienen and Kimberley Peirce, the latter also the director, have glossed the events of this true story about Brandon Teena, a female-to-male Nebraska trans-sexual and Hilary Swank is probably too androgynously delicate to completely convince as the real Teena. On the other hand, the events themselves carry the message and mercifully there is no obligingly convenient mouthpiece espousing the moral of its tragic story.

Boys Don't Cry is not an easy film. It is very slow in establishing itself, the white trash who provide the bulk of the characters, as is their want, are less than appealing, and then as the events move towards the resolution it becomes quite disturbing. On the other hand the interplay between Brandon/Teena and the group of people around her is convincingly written, all the support players are excellent and there are some striking visual moments. Most of all however it is Swank's Oscar-winning performance and the orchestration of the narrative as it moves remorselessly to its denouement that compels attention.




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